Game 23: Georgetown (13-9, 6-3) vs Butler Bulldogs (14-7, 36)
"We're at the halfway point, so there is a whole lot of basketball left to be played." - Coach John Thompson III, after Georgetown's loss to Providence Saturday night
Series: Hoyas lead 5-1, including 4-0 in league play
Where/When: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Tuesday 7PM
Line: Butler -5
While technically it's true that the Hoyas are just halfway through their BIG EAST slate of games with a record of 6-3 it's a bit misleading as they haven't gone through the true round robin. Instead of playing each of the league schools once, the Hoyas likely had an easier first nine games by doubling up on DePaul and Creighton while missing out on Butler and Seton Hall.
As for the second part of that JT3 quote, the season is quickly coming to an end as Georgetown has just nine regular season games remaining and a lot of ground to make up as a 13-9 team with just two wins against the RPI Top 50.
With all that being said it looks as though Georgetown's postseason fate could be determined by its performance in the four games against Butler and Seton Hall, which starts tonight in Indianapolis. Right now the BIG EAST is set to send three teams to the NCAA Tournament in Villanova, Xavier, and Providence.
Who will be that fourth team? Well right now it looks like Seton Hall is the leading candidate with Georgetown and Butler still in the mix. The league could still get in five teams but there would be the need for some upsets.
Georgetown's path seems easy enough to figure out, while the execution should be anything but. The Hoyas need to get to 11 (if you feel lucky) or 12 league wins before NYC. To do that they need to beat St. John's and Marquette, go 3-1 vs Butler/Seton Hall, then pull of another upset from the Villanova, Xavier, Providence group. Any missteps along the way through the first two parts of the above equation will require more upsets from the class of the league.
So if Georgetown needs to pull off at least one road win from the group of Butler and Seton Hall, there seems no better time or place to start than tonight as the Hoyas have come away victorious from Hinkle Fieldhouse in their previous two trips.
Butler has fallen on hard times in opening the BIG EAST season 3-6. The Bulldogs have been ranked in nine of 13 polls this season even spending two weeks in the Top 10 at the end of December. But all they have to show for it right now is an RPI of 67 and just one Top 50 win coming against Purdue back on Dec. 19.
In much the way that opposing fans and even coaches think that D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera has been at Georgetown forever - Providence coach Ed Cooley said something about that on Saturday - Butler seems to have the same type of deal with Roosevelt Jones and Kellen Dunham on their roster. Both of those guys are in double figures while Kelan Martin and Andrew Chrabascz round out the four leading scorers for the Bulldogs. Georgetown will need to keep Jones out of the lane and have a player on Dunham at all times. Chrabascz has had good games against the Hoyas in the past but he should be no match for Bradley Hayes on defense if that sky hook is falling.
JT3's Top Scorer: With 25 points tonight in front of what will likely be a large turnout of friends and family, DSR can pass both Mike Sweetney (‘03) and Austin Freeman (‘11) on the school's all time scoring list. When DSR passes Freeman and takes over seventh place he will become the all-time leading scorer to play under JT3.
Reunited: This will be the first time that DSR will go against his back court running mate from Oak Hill - Tyler Lewis. Lewis had to sit out last season after transferring from NC State.
Reason to be Delusional: Georgetown has alternated wins and losses over the last six games and since the last game was a loss, clearly this will be a win.
Reason to be Cynical: We're 22 games into the season and you still don't have any idea as to what the best lineup will be on any given night.